AN esteemed Swindon GP says he is seeing his profession disappear as a leading medic warned GP surgeries are on the brink of collapse at a conference today.
Dr Peter Swinyard, from Toothill’s Phoenix Surgery, spoke after Dr Chaand Nagpaul, chairman of the British Medical Association’s (BMA) GP committee issued a stark warning over the future of GP surgeries in the UK.
He said surgeries have become “frighteningly vulnerable” due to low pay, tough working conditions and extremely overstretched resources.
Dr Swinyard, who has been a GP for 32 years, attended the Local Medical Committees conference in Edinburgh where Dr Nagpaul spoke.
He said:“We are all pretty much at the end of our tether in terms of how much more we can take before we all shrug our shoulders and say let’s do something else.
“I have been doing this more than half my life and I am just seeing it disappear. It is tragic.
“The prime minister keeps prattling on about offering more and seven day services which to put it kindly is ill-informed. We are being squeezed.
“How can we provide the best possible care to patients without adequate funding? We are not being greedy, clearly this is not about money but being able to function as a service.”
Dr Swinyard said the effects of chronic underfunding would not only be felt now but for generations to come.
He said: “The industry is going to lose some incredible doctors, it is hugely tragic for a profession, as well as putting off young doctors training as GPs. It is harming the legacy of the NHS.
“It is such a shame because general practice is still the best way to provide healthcare and the most cost-effective.”
Dr Nagpaul accused politicians of ignoring the pressures placed upon local health services as they struggle to cope with ever-growing demand.
The medic, who also highlighted chronic underfunding, shortage of GPs and the spiralling problems of paperwork said the only solution to the problem is to increase NHS funding.
He said: “Even a seemingly secure practice is just one partner away from retiring to set off a domino effect which could lead to collapse.”
“The NHS has been paralysed by the vote for the UK to leave the European Union.
“Far from the pledged investment of an extra £350 million per week, audaciously plastered on double decker buses, the reality is we’ve been cheated with the opposite, a deep freeze in NHS spend, continued savage austerity cuts and with politicians turning a blind eye to the spiralling pressures affecting the entire health and social care system, in which even the 18 week target, laid down in the NHS constitution, is being allowed to be breached.”
Healthwatch Swindon would like to hear from people about their experience of GP services in Swindon.
For information visit www.healthwatchswindon.org.uk